Dale Earnhardt Jr. labels the Next Gen NASCAR Cup cars as ‘fun to drive’ but admits that steering it can prove to be a challenge.
Earnhardt is coming on the back of two days of pre-season testing at Daytona with Hendrick Motorsports. He took part in the session to get a better understanding of the Next Gen cars that will be used in the Cup as he’ll be a commentator for the upcoming season.
The Kannapolis born driver won’t make a return to the Cup but will work with his team to help them achieve results. This is the 47-year old’s second outing with the new cars, as he also tested it at Bowman Gray Stadium last year.
“We’re just trying to learn everything we can,” the 2022 NASCAR Hall of Fame Inductee said. “I’m trying to learn about the car and taking in everything I can to help me in the booth. They’re trying to figure out how to make it go faster.
“So, when all those guys get in the car, it’s going to work for them and do what they need it to do in the Daytona 500. It does everything right,” he added.
The 2-time Daytona 500 winner took part in Draft practices in Florida during the testing session. He highlighted that the biggest challenge drivers would face, will be the ‘rack and pinion steering‘ at the larger tracks.
The Next Gen cars steer very fast and drivers have to be careful says Dale Earnhardt Jr.
In spite of the steering challenges, Earnhardt is sure that the drivers will love the feel of these new cars. He feels that they have to approach driving around corners more carefully, as the cars turn much faster than it’s predecessors did.
“The rack and pinion steering is probably the one thing that would be the most difficult to get used to. It’s so much different than the old style.” he continued.
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“The car steers very fast. Where you would turn the wheel quite a bit to get around the corner or try to get to a car to side-draft, you’re very almost surgical with the steering now.”
“Very small movements to make the car do a lot. You can’t get really crazy with the steering wheel. The car is just going to take off and start darting around.”
“That’s one of the things that I think would be most difficult to get used to. The rack and pinion steering and how fast it is.” the former Busch Series Champion concluded.